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Letter: Hardworking people deserve a living wage

Hardworking people deserve a living wage

There were several misconceptions that really should be clarified in an April 29 letter that spoke of the minimum wage and hardworking Americans. We speak of the same people. These hardworking folks are in the service industry, health care, child care and nursing homes. The vast majority of these workers are not teenagers. They have been working at their jobs for years and do not make enough to pay their daily living bills. They are working two jobs, and sometimes more.

As two recent articles in The News accurately pointed out, many are receiving subsidies from New York State to help support them and their families. They receive food stamps, help with rent, assistance with their electricity and heat and more. Thank goodness these supports are available to them.

What we infrequently talk about is how well the companies are doing that do not pay these employees enough to live on. We, the taxpayers, pay for these valuable programs, while the employers reap the financial benefits from cheap labor.

The writer adds that hard work and loyalty should pay off. In a fair and just world, they would. That is not where we live right now. She finishes by saying we should spend our efforts on encouraging employers to reward employees based on performance and loyalty. If it were that easy and valuable, wouldn’t employers already be doing that? We know for a fact they are not! Hardworking people should not have to work two full-time jobs just to exist.

Michele Murray